Now is the time to check that all bull calves that are not being kept for either breeding or bull beef are castrated. There are legal and biological reasons for this timely reminder.
A well grown six-month-old bull calf is quite capable of successfully impregnating a well grown six month old heifer calf. They frequently do, so all bull calves not required for breeding or bull beef production should be castrated.
Under the Code of Animal Welfare, castration of bull calves without pain relief must be performed when the animals are as young as possible, and not greater than six months of age. When castrating any animal over the age of six months, pain relief in the form of local anaesthetic must be used. Check that both testes are present below the ring before it is released.
Dehorning (Debudding) Calves
In October 2019 Animal Welfare regulations around calf debudding are changing and local anaesthetic will be required when debudding your calves. Franklin Vets offer gold standard bud removal using sedation and local anaesthetic.
Calf debudding is necessary for the safety of farmers and other animals. We recommend debudding calves at 2-4 weeks old as their horn buds are still small and not yet attached to the skull. Debudding with sedation and local anaesthetic is quick and less stressful for both the calf and handler. Reduced pain means calves vocalise less and recover faster allowing them to carry on growing after they are debudded. Because the calves are sedated, no restraint is needed meaning we can do other jobs like tagging, DNA sampling, vaccinating, extra teat removal and blood testing for BVD. We are happy to do this all during debudding meaning you can have the calves ready for us and get on with the rest of your day.
Weaned Calves/Older Cattle
Grass quality is important with young cattle and poor quality forage will return negative growth rates. In addition, the animal’s immunity will decline along with its health. We are commonly finding a fatal combination of cooperia resistance and yersiniosis in calves in late autumn. Avoid this by using a combination drench routinely and certainly after the autumn rain.